View Full Version : Bagging and compaction. 1 possible reason to leave clippings.

01-10-2007, 01:13 PM
Personally, I prefer to collect clippings on my own home lawn.

At least after it's established for a year.

But for some lawns, it may be very helpful to leave clippings, not due to nutrient value, but to reduce damage to soil structure.


For those who don't bag and leave the clippings, do you do it primarily to save time, save nutrients, or protect the soil?

All of those? Other?

01-10-2007, 04:52 PM
I think in the 90's mulching mower technology picked up and most of the Cities around the DFW Metroplex stopped taking clippings. There has been a ton of PSA's about not clogging up the lands fills, storm drains with clippings. The other side of it was the nutrient value.

It really is basically an accepted practice. Bagging is done if scalp and over seed with winter grass and some times in the spring.

Team-Green L&L
01-10-2007, 04:57 PM
We like to leave clippings for the nutrients and to save time, but our newer clients are pretty demanding and don't care about nutrients. "That;s what the fertilizer's for" is what I keep hearing. So...we bag most of the time.

01-10-2007, 05:16 PM
I do not bag due to time and extra equipment expense. I some customers that ask about it and I sell them on it due to the nutrient value. I explain that it helps to leave the clippings and it is not a total substitue for properly applied and scheduled fertilizings. I also tell them that due to the extra time required to bag, it would cost more per visit.

That usually stops them form wanting that any longer. Also, once they see that will regular cutting and the cut quality o fmy commercial mower, they usually cannot find alot of clippings and are very pleased.

01-10-2007, 05:30 PM
I bag only in the spring when the grass grows like crazy. I leave clippings the rest of the year to save time and put nutrients back in the soil. I rarely have anyone ask or complain about clippings left on the lawn.

The issue of soil compaction is usually addressed by aerating the lawn. I hadn't thought about the clippings actually helping with this. Good information and more justification for the decision to mulch and not bag like many around here do.

01-10-2007, 08:50 PM
I agree with the guys here saying the customers couldn't care less about the nutrients. They (mine anyway) just want the grass cut and no clumps. And green when it's dry. And cheap.

01-10-2007, 09:45 PM
"No clumps, "no rows" is a far bigger concern of my customers than any story about nutrients. Most of the my residential customers are selectively bagged, that is front, side, and some of the rear (depending upon the house and property). The rear yards are rarely bagged.

01-10-2007, 10:08 PM
People usually let me know about their town, and say that if it is better for me, I can leave it down by the side of their street and their city comes with their equipment and pick it all up. All yard waste, they are not to big on picking up grass clippings, but they do.

01-10-2007, 10:28 PM
I mulch mostly for the time savings.. I used to simply side discharge but I didnt like the look of the yard and all the cleanup involved.

As for bagging, I think it sucks...not only in time and labor, but also the amount of space it takes up at landfills. And nearly everything Ive read about leaving grass clippings/leaf mulchings says that it is not harmful for the turf. Maybe even helpful for the turf.

So I will stick with mulching for the looks, time /labor savings, effect on the environment.

green acres lawns
01-11-2007, 01:38 AM
I prefer to side discharge with a OCDC to control the clippings. Mulching spring growth means cleaning the deck daily, so I do catch the clippings on certain properties. But, I have a walker with the wide low pro tires and a 52" tiger cub with/clam shell bagger that I replaced the stock rear tires with 24-12-12 tires and rims to get a wider footprint. That was done to prevent rutting and compaction.

01-12-2007, 02:47 AM
The one lawn that appears to be a bad candidate for leaving clippings, is fine fescue. Fine fescue has a high lignin content, and the lignin resists decay.

They feel nice to walk on with 3" of thatch, but are a pain to maintain.

It's like a gymnastics mat.

Mean Green Lawns
01-12-2007, 03:23 AM
Fine Fescue is everywhere in MI as a mix blend

01-12-2007, 10:54 PM
My first year I ran into problems in the fall with leaves dropping slowly before the big drop. Mulching with my mower (not the greatest) did not do much with leaves so I had to start bagging. As well as some irrigated lawns, I would have to go over three times to get rid of clumps in certain areas, so I bagged there as well.

What do you guys think of leaving the clippings behind?

01-13-2007, 08:38 PM
Sometimes yes at home, sometimes no.

I don't mow for a living, but I know that when we leave them, the kids and dogs track the clippings in a lot more, occassionally staining.

For some customers, increasing the potential for carpet stains would not be a good professional move.

So it probably depends a lot on who owns a house and how they use their yard.